(Closed) How Do You Feel About "Sir/Ma'am"?

posted 6 years ago in Parenting
  • poll: Respectful? Insincere?
    Respectful! : (103 votes)
    66 %
    Insincere! : (21 votes)
    13 %
    Have never thought about it. : (20 votes)
    13 %
    Other? : (12 votes)
    8 %
  • Post # 3
    4693 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    I was raised to refer to my elders as sir and ma’am and I still do. It can be said insincerely but I think generally it’s respectful.

    Post # 4
    802 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: April 2012

    I could have written this haha. My SIL and Darling Husband were NOT raised to say ma’am or sir, and what irks me the most is they don’t say “Aunt/Uncle” like we should be Aunt Kati and Uncle Brian. SIL’s child (my neice) calls us Brian and Aunt Kati. I’m Aunt because I make her call me that, it’s respectful. As well as when she tells SIL “No!”..I want to yank her little but up and say “No Ma’am!” lmao

    I will be Aunt & Ma’am and my children will afford other adults the same respect, even if they don’t mind being called by their first name. Thats just me though, Darling Husband doesn’t mind the lack of “Uncle” and doesn’t EVER say sir.


    Post # 5
    1416 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: January 2013

    @Mrs Sarah McK:  “Yeah, whatever” is rude…but if anybody EVER called me ma’am I would DESPISE it! In fact the guy at the post office kept calling me ma’am yesterday and it made my skin crawl! Maybe it’s just because I’m from the NYC area, but to me ma’am is something you say when you’re being snarky or something Southerners say to old people, or what they say in the military, and I am neither Southern nor old so it’s just weird to me, HAHA, and wouldn’t want my children acting like I’m their drill sergeant, I was personally brought up in a household where we respected our parents, sure, but were more friends with them… I once called my mom ma’am as a joke and she was SO angry it made her feel old, she was just like “My name is not ma’am, it’s mom…”

    Post # 7
    7408 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2010

    I do not like the sir and mam.  Not for me.  And I do not get the  “aunt so-and-so” either.  I prefer that my nieces and nephews call my by my first name.

    Post # 8
    6019 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: September 2017

    My son always refers to adults and people older than him as ma’m and sir. Its just how he has been raised so far. I ask “did you do your homework?” he says “yes ma’m”. His father asks “did you help your mother clean up?” he says “yes sir”. I was raised this way and cannot stand to hear “yea”. In the least, my son is expected to say “yes” not “yea”. its always YES not YEA. that for sure is a peeve of mine.

    Post # 9
    14494 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2011

    I would not want to be refered to by my children as ma’am.  “Yes, whatever” is totally unacceptable, but ma’am can easily be used mockinly or insincerely.  “ok”, “yes”, “yes mom”, “ok mom” would be fine with me…it’s about the tone used, not the actual words imo that convey respect.

    Post # 10
    2580 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    My parents raised me to be respectful to adults, but I don’t think I’d ever called anyone ma’am or sir in my life–where I grew up in the Midwest, it just was not the norm.

    When I worked in a school in rural Texas, teachers would demand children say “yes, ma’am” or “no, sir”. It was not optional! I think it can be very much a regional thing. I do think it’s polite, but I still never expect it from anyone–if anything, it usually feels kind of formal to me.

    Post # 11
    6998 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: February 2011

    Being from the south I use sir and ma’am all the time! I even use Ma’am when talking to friends – not in a snarky way or incincere way…its just another term we use down here.

    ETA: I did not call my parent Ma’am and Sir – usually just other people. I would just call them mom and dad.

    Post # 12
    607 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2010

    Sounds like a southern thing to me. I’ve never said yes, ma’am or yes sir, except as a joke to a bossy friend or something. I would never expect my kids to call me that. I could see if their friends did but I wouldn’t expect it. 

    However, we do call our relatives Aunt or uncle. Even my parents’ friends were either aunt/uncle (even if no blood relation) or Mr. or Mrs. Now that we are all adults, sometimes they tell us to call them by their first names, but my siblings and I always seem to go back to Mr./Mrs. I don’t know what I will do with our kids because I can’t imagine calling any of MY friends Mr. or Mrs. 

    Post # 13
    1659 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2012

    No. I will not teach my children to say sir and ma’am. I despise being called ma’am by anyone, ever, and I think they’re insincere ways of addressing someone. I am from the PNW, so I’m sure this is absolutely regional and cultural.

    Post # 14
    778 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2011

    Maybe there’s a happy medium. For example, “yeah” could be off-limits, but maybe “Yes, Mommy” or “No, Aunt Jean” would be acceptable?

    I wasn’t raised to say Sir/Ma’am. To me they sound old fashioned and artificial, but certainly much more pleasant than extremely casual/disrespectful forms of address. Still, in my opinion they impose a certain distance. When my siblings have children I’d much rather be Aunt (first name) than “Ma’am”.

    Post # 15
    3772 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: October 2012

    My parents never wanted us to call THEM sir or ma’am (i think it was because my dad had just gotten out of the Navy and HATED being called sir then… )but they said it was always a good thing to do with other adults.. or at least refer to other adults as Mr. Smith etc.

    Post # 16
    368 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: February 2012

    Neither me or Darling Husband were raised with the ‘sir/ma’am’ mentality, but as he is now military, it is of course much more prevelant in this enviornment! I’m totally on board for teaching out kids to address adults that way – whenever a child addresses me that way I’m totally shocked, but in a  GOOD way. 

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